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Iris, Donnie - 1992 Out Of The Blue (Compilation)

ARTIST: Iris, Donnie
ALBUM: Out Of The Blue (Compilation)
LABEL: Seathru
YEAR: 1992


LINEUP: Donnie Iris - vocals, guitars * Mark Avsaec - keyboards, backing vocals * Marty Lee - guitars * Scott Williamson, Albritton McClain - bass * Tommy Rich, Kevin Valentine - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ah Leah * 02 Love Whispers * 03 Thats The Way Love Ought To Be * 04 Injured In The Game Of Love * 05 On Our Way To Paradise * 06 Be Still My Heart * 07 10th Street * 08 Stray Cat * 09 The Mad Siberian * 10 Ridin' Thunder * 11 Temptation * 12 Love Is Like A Rock * 13 I Want You Back


Quirky pop-rocker Donnie Iris had 8 years out of the limelight between 1984 and 1992. One must remember that Donnie had been going full tilt with music since the 60's, with bands such as The Jaggerz, Wild Cherry and of course his own band The Cruisers, so perhaps it was a good time to avoid all the trappings of hair metal and MTV even though some of his bandmates kept the fires burning with participation in other projects during this timeframe (Avsec, Kevin Valentine, Albritton McClain etc). After being dropped by MCA, Iris released 'No Muss No Fuss' during 1985 on the small HME Records label, and an attempt to release his (still unreleased) 'Cruise Control' album in 1986 was stalled by MCA who took up a legal challenge for whatever reason. Effectively put on ice, Iris' only other late 80's contribution was on the second Cellarful Of Noise record alongside Mark Avsec. Signed to Ohio label Seathru, Iris's first return to the public eye would be through a (sort of) Greatest Hits compilation called 'Out Of The Blue', released in 1992. I say 'sort of', because the album contained 7 previous tracks from the 'Back On The Streets', 'King Cool' and 'No Muss No Fuss' albums. The remaining 6 tracks are new.

The Songs
In this review I will focus only on these 6 new tracks, as the others will be covered in separate Donnie Iris reviews elsewhere on this site. 'Love Whispers' is a smoky blues oriented rocker which kinda stalks across the generations, probably following Donnie on his journey from the 60's into the 90's. Initially you get the impression of an urban soundscape for 'On Our Way To Paradise' though this ends up sounding very AOR by the time the first verse is encountered. 'Be Still My Heart' is a very likeable acoustic/electric crossover, with a vocal delivery taking equal parts of Dylan and Petty and mixing it up with a bit of Steeltown rust for good measure. Gotta love the bass poppin' on 'Stray Cat', mind you, the verses are fairly low-key and slow-tempo, thankfully the chorus moves things along in a lively fashion. With a title such as 'The Mad Siberian', your guess is as good as mine as to what this refers to lyrically. Musically however, this is punchy pop/rock in the vein of The Police back in the 1978 glory days of 'Outlando's D'amour. True.. and it sounds good. The last of the new tracks 'Temptation' has radio rock qualities mixed with some power-pop attributes. This would've sounded quite appropriate if released back in the 1980-1981 timeframe.

In Summary
Whether any of these new songs were remnants from that aforementioned 'Cruise Control' record is up for debate. Only Donnie or Mark can give us a clear answer, but for what it's worth, these newbies sound great from my perspective. Beyond this, Donnie moved up a few gears during the 90's, releasing another 4 new albums ('Footsoldier In The Night', 'Poletown', 'Live At Nicks Fat City' and 'Together Alone'), maintaining a busy recording and live presence throughout Ohio and Western Pennsylvania; strongholds for Iris and the Cruisers. Check out all our other reviews, we hope to fill the gaps that are missing as part of our 2013 'Fill The Gaps' programme.

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